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U of California Grad Students Win Big Pay Increases

December 26, 2022

University of California graduate student workers voted Friday to approve new contracts with substantial wage increases, ending a strike that started in early November, the Los Angeles Times reported.

For academic student employees, the contract will raise minimum pay from about $23,250 to about $34,000 for nine months of part-time work by Oct. 1, 2024. The rate at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and UCLA would be $36,500 because of the high cost of living in these cities and higher pay needed to compete for top talent. The United Auto Workers represents the graduate students.

The union said those gains are among the highest ever won by academic workers. They represent a 46 percent increase in salary scales compounded over 2023 and 2024, compared with 6 percent for the 2018 contract at UC and 9 percent for Harvard University in 2021 and for Columbia University in 2022.

Rafael Jaime, UAW 2865 president, said in a statement, “These agreements redefine what is possible in terms of how universities support their workers, who are the backbone of their research and education enterprise. They include especially significant improvements for parents and marginalized workers, and will improve the quality of life for every single academic employee at the University of California.”

Letitia Silas, executive director of systemwide labor relations for the University of California, said in a statement, “Today’s ratification demonstrates yet again the university’s strong commitment to providing every one of our hardworking employees with competitive compensation and benefit packages that honor their many contributions to our institution, to our community, and to the state of California.”

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